While human athletes are starting to reach the peak of their sporting performance, augmented cybathletes are just about to get started, exceeding humanity's best flesh-only efforts.
Cybathlon 2016 is an event that will pit humans with robotic enhancements against one another. No, not in a battle to the death as sci-fi would have us believe, but in sporting competition.
Competitors at the event, organised by the Swiss National Competence Center of Research in Robotics (NCCR Robotics), must have a mechanised enhancement. There will be six disciplines: powered leg prostheses, wearable arm prostheses, powered exoskeletons, powered wheelchairs, electrically stimulated muscles and novel brain-computer interfaces.
The devices entered can be those that are already commercially available as well as prototypes provided by developers. Two medals will be awarded; one for the "pilot" and one for the company that made the enhancement.
The objective of Cybathlon is to promote the development of assistive systems while improving public awareness and enabling those using these devices to compete in races. The first Cybathlon will kick off in Zurich in two years time.